Eating Berries Reduces Your Risk of Heart Attack by 32%
Most people want to not only find a way to add years to their life, but also to find a way to improve the quality of these years. A recent study published in the journal Circulation that examined the dietary habits of more than 90,000 women over an 18 year period suggests that eating strawberries and blueberries might help reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. Based upon the researchers’ findings, these health benefits were not present in other women whose diets consisted of other nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, but did not include strawberries and blueberries. Additionally, these benefits were still present when controlling for other risk factors associated with heart disease, such as hypertension, family history of cardiovascular disease, level of daily aerobic exercise, weight and body mass, and uses of caffeine and alcohol.
What makes strawberries and blueberries special?
The lead researcher believes that the pigment anthocyanin, which gives strawberries and blueberries their red and purplish blue color, is the reason why women who eat three or more servings of these fruits each week had a 32 percent lower risk of heart disease. In other clinical studies, anthocyanin has been shown to expand the blood vessels in the body that carry blood away from the heart and to prevent the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that can block these vessels. In addition to reducing a person’s risk of heart attack, anthocyanin contains flavonoids that help reduce other cardiovascular problems, such as stroke and high blood pressure. Although eggplant also contains anthocyanin, the researchers did not evaluate whether it provided the same heart health benefits as strawberries and blueberries.
How can you benefit from these findings?
In order to enjoy the same cardiovascular health benefits as the women in the study, you need to eat at least three servings of strawberries and blueberries each week. It is of note that the women in this study ate blueberries and/or strawberries on a weekly basis for years. This emphasizes the need to start and maintain healthy diet habits early in life.